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Old Jan 10, 2010, 1:45 PM   #1
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Default Help! Wanted DSLR now considering otherwise

I am a beginner photographer who has always been interested in photography. I took a class a few years ago and loved it (although I don't remember much. But I am willing to learn again.) I mostly love outdoors shots (I live in Colorado, the PERFECT place for those) and also love animal shots as well, and some action shots. I tend to take a lot of low lighting shots too.

I was considering a DSLR (my cousin has a d40 which takes great pics) but after considering for a while I am thinking I need something smaller. I have a cheap Kodak I use when I go out to parties or other college events (that way if I lose it or mess it up I'm not too sad) but when I want to take a picture of a sunset or the mountains it's really horrible.

I reeeeally wanted the d3000, but I am recently starting to think it may be too bulky for what I need. I leave for Europe in a couple of weeks to study in Spain, and I plan on traveling every weekend. I would love to take my camera along for my adventures.

What I'm looking for now is a compact camera that can have a full manual (or mostly manual) setting. That way, I can start learning about photography terms and how to take the best pictures, rather than just jumping into a DSLR. Is this a good choice? I considered the Nikon Coolpix L100 but I'm glad I came home and did my research because I'm starting to think the only thing it has going for it is the zoom. I'm not sure I need this much zoom (not to mention the added bulk)

A camera with 12x zoom I think would be ideal. I also want manual control over exposure, ISO, and aperture, and whatever else is important, but an auto mode for when I need a quick and easy shot. Any ideas?! Canon SX200 is one I've looked at a little.
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 1:52 PM   #2
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I forgot to mention-- price range is probably up to 400 for me. However I'd rather spend 200-300 because I feel like 400 is getting up there near the DSLR prices...

(I've also looked at the Canon sx120 a bit, might be a good choice??)
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 1:56 PM   #3
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well, as they say, you can't have it all. you will have to compromise somewhere.

if you are interested in action shots, and low-light shots. then that really is the realm of the dslrs. only they will have the fast autofocus you need and large sensor to allow boosting ISOs. and you will also need to spend some money on lenses as the kit lens or consumer telephotos don't have the autofocus speed either.

there are some newer digicams that do pretty decent in low light, namely the canon s90 and g11, but they won't do action, and they won't have the 12x zoom you are wanting. and they still are not in the same realm in low-light as a dslr.

so when you are looking at some of the digicam superzooms like the sx200IS, you can forget about action and low-light photography. but they will do quite nicely in better lighting conditions. of the compact superzooms, the sx200is offers better manual controls than the competing Panasonic ZS3, etc.

you may also look into a bridge camera if you want the large zoom range and manual controls, they are a little larger, but still smaller than a dslr. such as the panasonic fz35 and the canon sx20is.

so, knowing these compromises, what do you think is best for you?
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 1:57 PM   #4
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*Sx120is has really no manual controls at all
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 2:39 PM   #5
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I see what you are saying. I don't feel as if zoom is all that important to me, so I can compromise in that department I guess. My main concern is manual controls, therefore the sx120 is out I guess So I am looking for an advanced compact digital that has manual control.
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 2:45 PM   #6
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Hards-

Just for the record, as I sit here actually looking at my SX-120, yes, it does have manual controls.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 3:03 PM   #7
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Julz-

Welcome to the Forum. We're glad you dropped by.

At around the $240 mark you have the Sony H-20 with the best automatic mode and the best built-in flash in the class. It has It has manual controls, HD video and you can zoom while filming, but it does not have a wide angle position on that 10X optical (38 to 380mm) zoom.

At around the $290 mark you have the Canon SX-200 with 12X optical zoom, full manual controls, and yes, it does have a wide angle, it also does HD video, but it cannot zoom while filming

At around the $220 mark you have the Panasonic ZR-1 with 8X optical zoom. and yes it has a wonderful 25mm wide angle, it does HD video and you can zoom while filming. But, it has a weak built-in flash usit that limits the flash range to only 6 to 8 feet. It does have a brand new processor, manual controls, and an improved IS system.

Somewhat larger in physical size and at a higher price, right around the $310 mark, you have the Panasonic FZ-35, with full manual controls, 18X optical zoom (28mm to 486mm), HD video, and you can zoom while filming, a very good built-in flash unit, with stereo sound. The FZ-35 is a real all around camera that produces very good image quality, and can easily operate at ISO 800 without flash.

The FZ-35 represents a larger investment, but it is a more feature rich camera, that is in a class above the H-20, SX-200, and the ZR-1 cameras.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 3:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
Hards-

Just for the record, as I sit here actually looking at my SX-120, yes, it does have manual controls.

Sarah Joyce
yes, that is right, i forget that one does.
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 3:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post

manual controls

Sarah Joyce
seems we both goofed today. the zr1 does not offer any control over aperture or shutter speed.
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 5:26 PM   #10
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Julz

I travel extensively and have found that a dslr is not always the best options. Therefore I want something that give me allot of the ability of the dslr, but be compact. I am looking to augment my dslr with something more compact.

If you were willing to move up to dslr prices. Something like the ep-1 or ep-2 or GF1 will give you the full range of manual controls of a dslr and ability to change lenses. But it you will not want to use any iso above 800. The are not idea for sports, but for landscape and cityscape it should work fine. Also it is very compact. It will also allow you to grow when you take up photography again.

Doing a semester in Spain will allow you to visit a large amount Europe. You definitely want something more then a point and shoot. You will see that in spain the light accents the building very deferentially then the light in colorado.
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